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Whiter Shade of Pale | The Brazilian Political Blogosphere

Something struck me as odd about the Coursera course by Lada Adamic of the University of Michigan, who participated in a study of cleavages among U.S. political blogsphere, Red States and Blue States.

The study seemed to suffer from petitio principii, or “begging the question,” in that its selection process was weighted and tailored to produce the result achieved.


A recent study by Brazilian social scientist — damn it, it should be here in my history — attempts to map the recent vote empirically.


The blog Vi o Mundo interviews Thomas Conti of Unicamp on his data gathering and interpretation of the “politics of hate.”

Brazil is not a country divided among Workers Party states and Toucan states, but rather a territory in which electors of both parties cohabit geographical areas. This is demonstrated by a map of the performance of  Dilma Rousseff (PT) and Aécio Neves (PSDB) prepared by Thomas Conti, 24, a historical economists at Unicamp, the state university at Campinas).

After receiving a series of biased statements on his social networking page, based on graphics that show Brazil as deeply divided, based solely on winning party in each state, Conti decided to develop a map that would reveal the proportion of votes received in every region. 

The result is surprising. Minas Gerais, for example, where Dilma prevailed by a small margin, no long appears as pure red, while in Goias, where Aécio also registered a narrow advtangage, was not rendered in pure blue.  Both states, in which the race was especially close, are rendered in practically the same shade of purple.

The Conti map went viral on Twitter and Facebook and his blog received so many visits that the server went down

The story also made the front page of R7, the Record Web portal.